The New Jersey Devils have gotten off to a good start this season, leading the teams in the Eastern Conference and trailing only the Chicago Blackhawks for the best record in the league. The Devils have been impressive in every facet of the game, but it has been their defense that has set them apart, allowing just 2.08 goals against per game, a number good enough for sixth in the league.
The defense ultimately falls upon the shoulders of goaltender Martin Brodeur, the ageless wonder, drafted by the Devils an amazing 22 years ago. Despite his lengthy tenure, Brodeur is still playing at a high level, earning the NHL’s “Three Stars” designation last week for his superb play during the week ending February 10th.
He has had help on the offensive end from right wing David Clarkson and left wing Patrik Elias, with the two totaling 30 points, 12 goals and 18 assists between them.
The Devils just suffered their first loss in the last six games, but that has not kept the Pittsburgh Penguins from staying within one point of the lead in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference as a whole.
The Penguins have three players among the top ten performers in the entire league with Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin and, of course, Sidney Crosby. The three have come up with a combined 52 points already this season, and the Penguins actually sit with one more win to their credit than do the Devils.
The Devils will have their hands full trying to hold off the Penguins and if Crosby keeps playing at the level he has, there may not be anything New Jersey can do to hold on to the top spot.